(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY              307

peculiar to sect or party; and before long the movement broke
into two parts—the one represented by The British and Foreign
School Society, directed by Lancaster and providing mainly for
the children of dissenters, the other by The National Society for
Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the
Established Church, directed by Dr. Bell (1753-1832), a Scotsman
who had hit upon the monitorial method independently of
Lancaster. Though the system followed by both men was very
poor, and could only be said to be better than no system at all,
it had the negative merit of preparing the way for a more adequate
national education by demonstrating that under modern conditions
the task of educating the people was too great for the Church or
any voluntary organization.

In striking contrast with the slowness of the English people to
realize the need for the State undertaking the work of education
was the rapid progress made in that respect in Germany. The
principle, as we have seen, was not a new one there. In the Grand
Duchy of Weimar attendance at school had been enforced on both
boys and girls as early as 1619; and a century later, Frederick
William and his son Frederick the Great had organized a com-
pulsory system for the same class of children in Prussia. But the
full possibilities of national education were not realized till Johann
Bernard Basedow (1724-1790) put forward a new method of
education which seemed to combine all that was most attractive
in the natural education of Rousseau and the national education
of La Chalotais. Basedow, who was the son of a brutal Hamburg
wigmaker, got his first ideas of education in the three years he
spent in the tuition of a young boy, at the close of a brilliant but
erratic career at the Hamburg gymnasium and the university of
Leipsic. The conclusions he reached as a result of this experience
he embodied in a thesis, De Methodo inusitato^ for his master's
degree (1752). The underlying philosophy, such as it was, he
borrowed from Comenius, whose Orbis Pictus he had used with
his pupil. It may be summed up in a sentence: ** All our know-
ledge begins with the senses, and experience of things is all-
important/* His new Method was to make ail learning come in
the course of|>Iay~ahd to put conversation in the pkce of formal
lessons, especially in the case of languages. For the next sixteen
years he wrote (and probably thought) very fittfe about education^
being absorbed in the study of philosophy and theology, But